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  Saturday, 17 August, 2002, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
'Faultless' Davidson praised
Anthony Davidson in the Minardi at the Hungaroring
Briton Davidson has acquitted himself well

Rookie Grand Prix driver Anthony Davidson has been praised by his team boss Paul Stoddart after a strong qualifying performance in Hungary.

Davidson qualified last, but was only just over 0.5 seconds slower than his team-mate Mark Webber.

It was an impressive performance by the British American Racing test driver, who had never driven the Minardi before arriving in Hungary, a track he had never seen before.

Stoddart said: "For Anthony to come in in what was his first ever Formula One race, in addition to the fact he had never driven a car at the Hungaroring before, I am really pleased.


It was definitely a bit nerve-wracking
Anthony Davidson

"It's a difficult track to learn and to be only half a second away from Mark, and to have put in what is now five faultless sessions, that's pretty good by anybody's standards.

"He was cool, although I'm sure there were some hidden nerves, but he has worked very well with his race engineer.

"In each session he has improved and I could not be more pleased."

Stoddart added that Davidson's performance had raised the prospect of him continuing with the team beyond the two races for which he was originally employed.

Stoddart asked regular driver Alex Yoong to step down for the Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix, ostensibly to rebuild his confidence.

The Malaysian has failed to qualify for three Grands Prix this season.

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart
Stoddart says Davidson could continue with the team

Stoddart said: "He (Davidson) certainly has a chance of being with us beyond these two races.

"He is one of the drivers we are looking at very closely for next year. He is under contract to BAR as we know, but he definitely has a future in Formula One."

Davidson had said before qualifying he would consider it a "job well done" if he was half a second slower than Webber.

Afterwards, he said: "I am pleased to have qualified for my first race, but there is more to come and I'm slightly disappointed I didn't achieve it.

"It was definitely a bit nerve-wracking going out for that first run, but I've always loved qualifying, and the precision and concentration to set a competitive time in just one or two laps.

"The next goal is to run consistently in the race, stay out of trouble and get my first Grand Prix finish under my belt, and I'm really looking forward to it."

In-depth guide to the 2002 Formula One season

On-track action

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Budapest build-up

Jonathan Legard

F1 2002
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